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Joseph Leo Thimm

October 2, 1924 - January 3, 2019

Joseph Leo “Joe” Thimm passed away peacefully January 3, 2019 at his home in Salem, Oregon.

Born on October 2, 1924 in Detroit, Michigan, he graduated from Detroit Catholic Central High School in 1942. Soon after, Joe joined the Army and served with the 99th Infantry in the European theater, including the Battle of the Bulge. His courage and resilience earned him a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the 395th Infantry Presidential Citation.
Following his discharge from the Army, Joe took advantage of the G.I. bill and continued with his education, earning a Bachelor of Philosophy from the University of Detroit in 1949 and a Master of Social Work from the Catholic University of America in 1951.
It was at the Catholic University of America that Joe met the love and partner of his life, Mary Ellen Walsh. Following their graduation, he moved to his future wife’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. They married in June 1952.
Over the next 35 years, Joe worked as a counselor, director and administrator in corrections and children’s services in Oregon and Seattle. He also served as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Urban Affairs at Portland State University for five years. He authored numerous articles in professional journals as well as co-authored a textbook on criminal justice planning.
Following his retirement from the State of Oregon in 1986, Joe opened a consultancy practice conducting child welfare program evaluations in California and child and family abuse program reviews at military bases in the United States, Europe and Asia. He was also a founding member of Corrections Associates Limited, which provided domestic violence intervention.
In their retirement years, Joe and Mary traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe. After a trip to Perth, Australia connected them to previously unknown relations, they visited with family members in both Oregon and Australia. Yet it was their home in the Nelscott area of Lincoln City that captured their hearts; they spent much time there entertaining and relaxing as they enjoyed their ocean view.
Joe will be forever remembered for the joy that he brought to others through his conversation, laughter and singing. He never missed an opportunity to celebrate with his family--be it birthdays, holidays or Sunday dinners. An individual who believed deeply in making a difference in the lives of others, Joe’s final selfless act was donating his body for scientific study to help those in the medical community take better care of those of us he leaves behind.
His wife of 66 years, Mary, survives him along with their children, Mark Thimm (Patti Jo McCarthy), Paul Thimm (Tomika Dew) and Ann O’Connell (Jim O’Connell). He is the beloved grandfather of Melissa Thimm, Carlie O’Connell and Reese O’Connell.
All friends of Joe’s are invited to attend a memorial mass followed by reception at 10:30am on Saturday, January 12, 2019, at Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 4227 Lone Oak Rd SE, Salem, OR 97302. Please no flowers.

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